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By Graham Potter | Sunday, July 10, 2022

The Sunshine Coast Poly Track was the venue for, amongst others, a Maiden Handicap over 1400m on July 10 … a race which saw the Alan Jones trained I Am Winkles, an emergency acceptor, claim her first win a start number ‘lucky thirteen.’

While showing the odd spark of form in her previous starts, the number of ordinary finishes that also peppered her formline left the punters without much confidence about her chances.

Throw in the fact that I Am Winkles had to jump from the widest barrier (number twelve) and her fate was sealed on the betting boards. She would start, unwanted by most, at $14.

Not that Mark Du Plessis let any of that negativity impact his ride.

The experienced rider, wisely, did not ask I Am Winkles to contest the early speed, choosing instead to gently ease the daughter of Trust In A Gust back before crossing as best he could.

That still left I Am Winkles three wide and some seven lengths off the lead as the field went down the back straight.

Patience … patience … was very much the name of the game for Du Plessis as the field took the sweep to the home turn with runners starting to line up their positions from which they hoped to launch their run home.

For Du Plessis and I Am Winkles that meant slipping four, then five wide … cornering in eighth place now five lengths off the lead.

Du Plessis had been saving I Am Winkles for that all-important final finishing effort and I Am Winkles responded on cue when asked to lengthen her stride by Du Plessis … slowly at first, before picking up her rhythm and striding steadily forward in a manner which she sustained all of the way down the straight.

That finishing effort was good enough to see her claim the lead with 100m left to run … and to go on to score by 0.80 lengths.

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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